There is no proven benefit to consuming protein in a supplement form over protein rich foods. Although protein is minimally utilized as energy while exercising, it is essential for the growth and repair of your muscles.
>Personally, I consume protein in all forms; mainly chicken, eggs, beans, protein bars, Shakeology and Recovery. My diet is well planned out, consuming protein in supplement form AND foods allows me to have a well balanced diet, and insures proper muscle growth.
The only time protein is utilized as a main energy source is when your body is in starvation mode and that’s all there is left.
Slight side track: Have you ever noticed that guy/girl at the gym twice a day not losing any weight and not gaining any muscle? That’s probably because physical improvements associated with exercise need to be accompanied by a well balanced diet. It is likely that this person isn’t consuming enough calories so his/her body has been catabolic, which pretty much means starvation mode, saving and storing all fats it can find, and eating away at the protein source (muscle). So this person isn’t losing weight and isn’t gaining muscle. A full nutrient dense diet is crucial.
On the reverse, protein in excess of 2 g/kg will be utilized for energy in rare cases, converted to fat, or most often excreted in urine. Consuming too much protein would first be a waste of money if you’re just gonna pee it out, and is secondly bad for your kidneys.
So, in conclusion, no it is not essential to consume protein in supplement form. But it is beneficial for muscle growth when you are too busy to have a cooked meal, when you want to mix it up from the typical chicken, when you aren't already consuming enough, if you're vegetarian, and if your protein supplements includes vitamins and minerals that also improve other aspects of your health (cough, cough, Shakeoology.)
To figure out the max amount of protein you need a day convert your weight from pounds to kilograms: 112Ibs/2.2 = 50kg 50kgX1g= 50 grams of protein p/d
For an active individual on a workout regime you should be consuming around 1 gram of protein per kilogram of body weight.